An 82-year-old man has been cleared of assaulting his pensioner neighbour in a bizarre row over a pair of garden shears leaning on a fence.
Douglas Eglan faced an allegation of repeatedly spitting on neighbour Frank Cation, 67, repeatedly pushing him and causing him to fall the ground to his injury.
But a sheriff found the case not proven after a sheriff described one of Mr Cation’s falls, caught on CCTV, as a “dive that would earn a Premiership footballer a yellow card”.
Fiscal depute John Adams added: “Cristiano Ronaldo would have been proud of it.”
Dundee Sheriff Court heard the rowing neighbours had begun arguing on May 29 last year after Eglan saw a pair of garden shears sitting on a wire mesh fence between their gardens that he had installed.
The row escalated with Mr Cation and Eglan standing eyeball to eyeball over the fence – where Mr Eglan allegedly spat on him and pushed him over twice.
But the 82-year-old claimed he had simply blown in Mr Cation’s face to scare him off because he couldn’t move – and that he only lifted his hand to prevent Mr Cation pushing him.
The CCTV footage showed Mr Cation then taking a backwards fall moments later and lying flat on his back with his leg raised for several seconds.
He then jumped up and again confronted Eglan, before again taking a tumble on to the lawn.
Mr Cation’s wife, Davina Cation, told the trial: “Frank never touched him, there was just verbals.
“The shears had been pushed off the fence with his [Eglan’s] walking stick and that started it.”
Solicitor Cheryl Wallace, defending, said: “Mr Eglan walks with two sticks – he is not in great physical health. His position is he did not push your husband.”
Mrs Cation replied: “Frank walked away two or three times but Mr Eglan kept shouting and he went back to remonstrate.
“There was definitely a one-handed push.”
Miss Wallace said: “The fall looks exaggerated to me.”
She replied: “A fall is a fall.”
Mr Eglan later gave evidence in his own defence.
He said: “His face was half an inch from mine.
“I am as weak as a kitten – I couldn’t push him over.
“The CCTV camera had been put in a couple of days previously.
“I wanted his face away from me so I blew on him.
“It was all stage managed from the word go – that’s what made me angry.”
Fiscal depute John Adams said: “You are saying there were theatrics?”
Mr Eglan replied: “He did it deliberately just to incriminate me.
“I prevented him from pushing me and I had very good reason for doing so.
“His wife is a liar.”
In his closing argument Mr Adams accepted the second fall caught on CCTV was “theatrical” but said: “For a 67-year-old man to throw himself to the ground twice would be bizarre.”
Eglan, 82, of Stratheden Place, Auchtermuchty, Cupar, denied a charge of assault on summary complaint at Dundee Sheriff Court.
Sheriff John Rafferty found the charge against Eglan not proven.